DieselBy: L. Wilder
“Yeah. He’s a good guy. Reminds me of Cotton. Runs his club with honor, even with all the bullshit that goes on in that town. I also got to know Blaze pretty well when I was working at the shop. The guy works his ass off to keep the place running right. He’s got a kid named Kevin, who he’s raising on his own. His wife died a few years ago, which makes it hard, since his kid’s been sick.”
“What’s wrong with him?”
“He had some kind of cancer, but he’s been in remission for a while now. I think Blaze is worried that it might come back,” he explained.
“That’s gotta be tough.”
“No doubt, but he’s doing the best he can. I’ve kept in touch with him, and the last I heard, they were doing alright.” I could hear the concern in his voice as he spoke, which made me wonder if he was worried about him getting sick again.
“And the others?”
“I really didn’t get to spend a lot of time with many of them.” He thought for a moment, then continued, “There’s Cyrus. He runs the diner, and he helped me and Liv out when that asshole, Daniel Perry, came looking for them. I’m not sure if you heard about that nightmare. Perry’s father and Olivia’s were real estate business partners. In order to fuck up a huge development project, that greedy douchebag, Daniel, killed her folks and was planning on doing the same to Liv and her younger brother and sister, thinking he’d get rid of any witnesses. That didn’t work out too well for him.” He sighed with a disgusted look on his face. “So, I owe Cyrus a lot.”
“I see that, and I’m looking forward to meeting them. So, what’s the plan when we get there?”
“I’ll meet with Gus and go over the changes with the route. I figure we’ll crash there tonight. I want to check in with Blaze and Sam and see how they’re doing. We can head back in the morning.”
“Sam … well, that’s a long story,” he scoffed.
“All I’ve got is time, brother. Let’s hear it.” Clutch spent the next half hour telling me how Liv met Sam at the diner. At the time, he was a homeless vet, and she had a soft spot for the old guy. Turned out that he had one for her, too, and he’d been keeping an eye on her and the kids, helping them stay safe during that whole fiasco. Not too long afterwards, the club took him in as a prospect, and now he’s a patched member. “Damn. It’s a good thing he was around when that asshole came looking for them.”
“Yeah, there’s no telling what would’ve happened if he hadn’t been there.”
We continued talking for the next few hours, which made the long ride much more bearable. By the time we pulled up to the clubhouse gate, Clutch had told me everything about his time in Memphis, and I felt more prepared to meet the brothers. He rolled down his window when he saw one of the prospects heading over to us. “Clutch and Diesel. We’re here to see Gus.”
He gave us a quick nod and motioned us on through. Clutch pulled up to the front door and parked the truck. I followed him inside, and as soon as we stepped through the door, someone called out, “Clutch! How’s it going, man?”
“Hey, Murph,” Clutch answered as he started walking towards one of the brothers with long, shaggy hair and a scruffy beard. Clutch gave him a quick side hug and a slap on the back as he said, “Good to see ya, brother.”
“We weren’t expecting you until later this afternoon.”
“Made good time.” Clutch smiled proudly. “I don’t reckon you’ve met Diesel. He’s one of our newest members.”
Murph extended his hand as he replied, “Good to meet, Diesel. Did you have a good trip?”
“It was alright, but damn, the snow was really coming down at times.”
“Heard it’s pretty bad up north.”
“Yeah. It’s a hell of a mess, but it cleared up once we got out of Oklahoma,” Clutch replied.
“Hope that shit doesn’t make its way down here. People around here lose their mind with just an inch. I can’t imagine what they’d do with a foot of snow.”
“I think you’re safe for now.” Clutch chuckled. “Hey, is Gus around?”
“Yeah. He’s in his office.” Murph turned and called out to one of the guys at the bar. “Hey, Runt. Clutch is here to see Gus. You mind taking him back?”
He stood up and started walking over to us. “Clutch. Good to see ya, brother.”
“You, too, Runt.” After he shook hands with him, Clutch turned towards me and said, “I shouldn’t be long.”
“Take your time,” Murph told him. “We’ll be waiting for you in the bar.”
Clutch nodded, then followed Runt down the hall. Once he was gone, Murph led me into the bar. When we walked in, the place was deserted, so I assumed most of their guys were like us and worked during the day. Murph grabbed us a couple of beers, and as he offered me one, he sat down behind the counter. He didn’t look like your typical Sergeant of Arms, but there was a fierceness behind his eyes that let me know he wasn’t a man you’d want to get tangled up with. He ran his hand over his beard as he said, “Clutch mentioned that you were new to the club.”